Over the past year, since the momentous events of last year’s Boston Marathon, we’ve heard that phrase used time and time again. For some, it means rebuilding a life without a loved one who was tragically lost during the bombings. For others, it is the day-to-day reminders-the scars, the wounds, the prostheses-that force them to remember those horrible events but pushes them to keep moving forward.
For the majority of us, who were not present and could only watch in horror from afar as the events of that day, and week, unfolded, where heroes stepped forward and lives were permanently altered, it is a call to arms to help, to fight back and support the neediest among us.
I am re-sharing this blog with all of you, one of my very first, for any curious onlookers watching and reading from afar who are interested in learning the origins and essence of this amazing, wonderful, joyful city we call Boston, our home.
“In honor of Patriots Day, a uniquely Massachusetts holiday, a little Boston history for your reading pleasure. Facts confirmed by Wikipedia, several historical societies and my historian-in-residence, Coach. Click on the pictures for links to websites and information.
Boston (pronounced baws-tun). The Capital of Massachusetts. The Hub. The City of Champions (see Boston Red Sox, N.E. Patriots, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins). Although significantly smaller in population than The Big Apple, what we lack in size we make up for in historic stature. We are the site of the world’s oldest marathon, begun in 1897, the Boston Marathon.We have the oldest MLB ballpark, Fenway Park (c.1912)
the Swan Boats (c.1877) in the Public Garden
and Harvard University, founded in 1636 and the alma mater of 7 US Presidents.
We are Beantown named for Boston Baked Beans, a dish created by the Colonials, using beans cooked in molasses, a plentiful product due to the slave trade. We are home of the USS Constitution, nicknamed “Old Ironsides”, (C.1787) the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat.
and the Boston Massacre
and the famous Midnight Ride of Paul Revere (the reason for this holiday!)
Penned by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1860, this poem details Revere’s April 18th journey by horseback from Charlestown to Lexington & Concord to warn the townspeople to take up arms in defense of the oncoming British invasion.
“…He said to his friend, “If the British march By land or sea from the town to-night, Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch Of the North Church tower as a signal light,– One if by land, and two if by sea; And I on the opposite shore will be, Ready to ride and spread the alarm Through every Middlesex village and farm, For the country folk to be up and to arm.”
The British, whose ships were in Boston Harbor, were planning a march to Concord, where they were to destroy supplies and munitions stored by the local militia. Revere’s plan was to make his way there ahead of the advancing British troops, alerting the locals along the way of the impending British invasion. On the night of April 18, 1775, alerted by the two lanterns hanging in the Old North Church, indicating the British would be advancing in boats over the Charles River, Revere began his historic journey on horseback. He travelled from Charlestown to Concord, alerting the local minutemen of the advancing regiments. Captured and subsequently released by the British, he made his way to the Old North Bridge in Concord,
There you have it. A quick US History lesson of Boston, featuring heroes and patriots, who were not unlike so many of the present day heroes among us who bravely stepped into the fray without fear or trepidation and altered the course of Boston’s history. So, whether this is a holiday for you or not, enjoy the day. And if you are one of the elite 36,000 running the 118th Boston Marathon-congratulations on such an amazing achievement and best of luck to you-stay strong! Happy Patriots Day, everyone! Susan
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